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Hopeful for change on wolf policy

Editor: The majority of Albertans cherish our wilderness, along with the animals contained within it.

Editor: The majority of Albertans cherish our wilderness, along with the animals contained within it. In May of 2015 there was high optimism that a newly elected NDP government would address and resolve some highly unacceptable and inhumane wildlife practices taking place in Alberta that the previous Progressive Conservative government was involved in or associated with, and which caused a great deal of public concern and outcry.

However, to date, since the new government took office, there doesn’t appear to be any change in the status quo. Wildlife continues to be “managed” by our province using such abhorrent, ineffective and publicly unacceptable methods that include poisoning, aerial culling and the use of painful and barbaric traps and snares, with the province turning a blind eye to wolf bounties and coyote killing contests. Numerous attempts to address these issues with the government via letters and calls, for the most part, continue to go unanswered.

But is there a glimmer of hope on the horizon? Is there a softening of government policy towards wildlife management? Three articles that I recently came across made me feel that perhaps the province is adopting a new attitude towards the province’s wildlife.

The first article discusses the NPD government entering into talks with stakeholders that could lead them to consider animals as beings that are self-aware with feelings.

The second article is a proposal by the NPD government to incorporate new research into a grizzly bear recovery plan that considers road densities, with public input sought.

In the third article, Dave Kay, commercial wildlife and priority species specialist with Alberta Parks and Environment, said the province is looking at ways to regulate against the use of wolf bounties by municipalities and hunting and trapping groups.

“It might be legal, but socially it’s really not that acceptable and we certainly don’t promote them,” said Kay in the story published in the Outlook. “We’ve had some discussions internally about how we can regulate against the use of bounties on wolves.”

His comments are particularly noteworthy in that it’s the first time the province has said it’s planning on banning wolf bounties for hunting and trapping groups and municipalities and counties, bounties are not acceptable, and the province has never promoted them.

I truly hope that going forward, we will finally see some meaningful and positive changes for Alberta’s wildlife, which will result in its protection and safety so that it can be cherished and enjoyed for generations of Albertans to come. Most importantly, we need to encourage public and political debate about the future of wildlife and wild places in Alberta. We need to raise our voices in support of wildlife, wild spaces and ecosystem maintenance.

Christina Larkins,

Calgary